By Mark Rawlinson

Charles Sheeler was once the stark poet of the computer age. Photographer of the Ford Motor corporation and founding father of the portray flow Precisionism, he's remembered as a promoter of - and apologist for - the industrialised capitalist ethic. This significant new reconsider of 1 of the most important figures of yank modernism argues that Sheeler's precise courting to growth was once in reality hugely unfavorable, his 'precisionism' either skewed and vague. overlaying the full oeuvre from images to portray and drawing consciousness to the inconsistencies, curiosities and 'puzzles' embedded in Sheeler's paintings, Rawlinson unearths a profound critique of the techniques of rationalisation and the stipulations of modernity. The booklet argues eventually for a second look of Sheeler's usually brushed off overdue paintings which, it indicates, may possibly merely be understood via a thorough shift in our figuring out of the paintings of this trendy determine.

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Additional info for Charles Sheeler: Modernism, Precisionism and the Borders of Abstraction

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A Photograph, a Drawing and a Painting In 1919, Sheeler moved from Philadelphia to Manhattan, New York and between 1919 and 1926 the artist produced a small but significant body of work whose subject matter was his new urban environment. These images of New York City are a continuation of Sheeler’s interest in the local environment; epitomised by his series of photographs of the Doylestown cottage. As such, Sheeler’s choice of New York subject matter is unsurprising; a concentration on those facets of the metropolis, its skyscrapers, its bridges and elevated railways that proved inspirational for artists of all denominations.

Here Sheeler sits at an easel working on a re-rendering of Interior with Stove in conté crayon. 109 The ‘something personal’ is again invoked and I want to suggest here that it is the work of light in Interior with Stove that makes it such an important image. It seems possible to imagine that in the other photographs in the constellation the light source is not a strategically placed photographic lamp but the light from this stove emanating through the house. Granted, the light in the stove is a lamp and not a fire, but Sheeler’s imagery seeks to make the analogy.

Before the close reading of Adorno’s strategy of immanent critique, I want to discuss his concept of Cubism in light of the above, with reference to Sheeler’s early work. Cubism as Critique The nuances of Sheeler’s appropriation of Cézanne have been somewhat overlooked in favour of more obvious formal similarities, which are often categorised as cubist. Just like the use of ‘modern’ in the compound phrase ‘modern artists’ in America at this time, so Cubism found itself a catchall for abstract art of any kind, including Futurism and Fauvism.

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